Author Topic: Using Costco correctly  (Read 38608 times)

Cowardly Toaster

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Using Costco correctly
« on: January 01, 2017, 11:54:27 AM »
I think Costco is a great tool for mustachians, but it isn't as simple as getting a membership and the piling your cart high with bulk goods.

Here's a few tricks I've learned:

Only buy staples at Costco, not treats, unless you are disciplined enough to ration your treats out. If you want a little candy, just buy it at the regular store. It's a treat so you don't need a huge bag of it. Exception: beer and coffee are luxuries and a steal at Costco.

Don't assume Costco is cheaper. Milk was more expensive at the local Costco than our Kroger supermarket. Price check!

And this goes for all mustachian life, but avoid buying anything you don't need at Costco. They always pile all the stuff up in the center hoping you'll wander through and buy. Avoid!

Any other Costco shopping tips?

JLee

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2017, 12:17:47 PM »
I admit it's not the healthiest meal ever, but hot dog & drink in the deli for $1.50 is really tough to beat for a quick/cheap lunch.

kudy

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2017, 12:25:21 PM »
It's one of the closest stores to my house, so I like to ride my bike there. It's fun to compare my "only what I can carry" shopping approach to the 90% of folks who have heaping baskets.

I like their deli chickens, coffee beans, laundry and dishwasher soap, and a few specific food items. Also buy all my gasoline there, and usually shop at the attached liquor store.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2017, 02:15:33 PM »
It's one of the closest stores to my house, so I like to ride my bike there. It's fun to compare my "only what I can carry" shopping approach to the 90% of folks who have heaping baskets.

I like their deli chickens, coffee beans, laundry and dishwasher soap, and a few specific food items. Also buy all my gasoline there, and usually shop at the attached liquor store.

I play this game all the time - I shop on my motorcycle, and it very much depends on if I attach my saddle bags or not.

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2017, 07:21:55 PM »
Sometimes I buy the famous $5 whole cooked chicken. I bring it home, eat my fill of the white meat (there is still a lot left) then I pull the meat off the bones and make chicken salad, or sometimes I barbecue the pulled meat. I usually get four or five meals off that one $5 chicken.

I save enough on two regularly purchased items (versus Kroger and Walmart) to pay the annual membership fee. Those items are Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat bread and Jif peanut butter.

About milk, it has been my experience that it varies weekly, by the store. Some weeks one store is cheaper, some weeks it is a another.

MsPeacock

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2017, 11:44:41 AM »
I like the $5 chicken too, and can get a couple meals out of one.

As far as milk goes, the organic milk at Costco is cheaper than the stores in my area, and has expiration dates that are weeks and weeks away. With two rapidly growing boys I appreciate being able to stock the fridge with milk and have it good for a while.

I avoid produce at Costco. The containers are too large, the prices aren't great, and it inevitably goes bad before we can use it up.

Totally agree about the treats. The packages at Costco are so huge that if you want a treat or to try something new it will be in a huge container and cost ten dollars.

Cat litter, cat food, dog food, are all well priced at Costco.

Candace

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2017, 12:50:52 PM »
My fiance and I basically eat lunch at Costco for free sometimes due to the samples they give out. On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, depending on what they're giving out, we literally don't eat any additional lunch that day. I'm turning up my nose at the hot dogs, but considering some of the samples they give out are highly processed meat and other processed stuff, I'm sure our "meal" is of similar quality to the hot dogs.

Definitely agree on not buying treats there. It would be sooooo easy to buy one of those industrial-sized bag of dark chocolate covered pomegranate treats. (Cue the slobber.) We just don't. The only time we've ever even bought something from the bakery was to have an apple pie for a Thanksgiving crowd of fourteen people. Their bakery is amaaaaazing.

We buy meat only infrequently now (really only if we're cooking for guests), but when we do, we look pretty carefully before buying there. For one thing, you're buying a lot of meat. Usually we don't want that much. Also, there are definitely times when Kroger is cheaper for comparable quality, so there's no point in buying Costco quantities and freezing the remainder.

We do buy paper towels, TP, cat litter, canned tuna, honey, rice, and other such stuff there. Oh, and big blocks of cheese. And the peanut oil we use for frying our Thanksgiving turkeys! So much cheaper at Costco! Plus there's enough left over to use for regular cooking for quite a while. Oh, and cases of beer, usually in the form of a sampler. We've really slowed down on our already moderate alcohol habits though, so we don't get very much beer any more. When we wanted cheap wine for mulled wine at Thanksgiving for a crowd, though, we went to Trader Joe's for the Three-Buck Chuck.

I have been known to throw in something I don't need, like those so-soft-and-cuddly thick socks, but it doesn't happen very much, and I really enjoy those socks. His only weakness is big boxes of cereal, but a mild side-eye gets him to make the right choice and put those back. We have been known to make a dumb decision and end up with months' worth of juice boxes after our nephews visited. Now I have a 54-year-old and a 28-year-old sucking on juice boxes so they don't get wasted.

I recently got my fiance to start getting his printer cartridges refilled there instead of buying new ones. Better for his business's wallet and better for the environment. We've both gotten tires there as well.

Finally, we buy bags of fruit there. My fiance will eat a few of those easy-peel clementines every day.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2017, 03:10:34 PM »
I like the way Costco's are setup and the one by us is very clean BUT is no where as in expensive as Sams Club and Neither are as close to what I can save at Aldi's. End of the tape is what matters most for me these days.

MsPeacock

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2017, 03:26:23 PM »
I like the way Costco's are setup and the one by us is very clean BUT is no where as in expensive as Sams Club and Neither are as close to what I can save at Aldi's. End of the tape is what matters most for me these days.

I did a price book a while back with Aldi, Costco, and shoprite. Aldi was consistently cheaper than the other two.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 05:11:24 PM by MsPeacock »

Bumperpuff

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2017, 04:14:28 PM »
***

I recently got my fiance to start getting his printer cartridges refilled there instead of buying new ones. Better for his business's wallet and better for the environment. We've both gotten tires there as well.

Finally, we buy bags of fruit there. My fiance will eat a few of those easy-peel clementines every day.

Not to sidetrack the thread too badly, but if he's doing a lot of printing for his business, he should check out continuous ink printers. You do away with the cartridge and can buy the ink by the pound.

 

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2017, 05:58:40 PM »
Couple weeks ago I noticed Costco had a Jamaican Blue coffee  whole bean blend (probably means two beans in the bag are JB) for $3 off (so like $9.89 for a 2 pound bag).

I bought 14 bags and figured I just saved an entire year membership just with the coffee.

The other Jamaican Blue I was able to buy locally was $40 a pound.

FINate

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2017, 06:40:50 PM »
Our local Costco carries a wide selection of organic products. Agree with the need to price check.

We typically get incredibly good values on:
 -Organic dairy (milk, butter, sour cream, yogurt, cheese)
 -Organic steel cut oats (like $8 for 7 lbs - a fraction of the grocery store price)
 -Organic pantry items: flour, olive oil, etc.
 -Organic eggs
 -Meats (buy large cuts and break down and freeze in smaller portions)
 -Coffee
 -Nuts

We get an okay value on paper towels and toilet paper.

Produce is a toss up. Sometimes they have great prices, but often it's better to shop at the local grocery.

We skip all the prepackaged snack stuff: chips, crackers, fruit snacks, frozen meals, etc.

Tip: Use a shopping list and stick to it. Don't shop hungry (we often get pizza/hotdogs before shopping). Go straight to the food area and bypass all the other stuff. Don't try the free samples - it's all the high-margin (read: expensive) stuff they want you to buy.

Tip: Our family of 4 goes through enough of the staples that the cash back on the Executive Membership pays for itself. YMMV

CanuckExpat

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2017, 12:06:46 AM »
Sometimes I buy the famous $5 whole cooked chicken. I bring it home, eat my fill of the white meat (there is still a lot left) then I pull the meat off the bones and make chicken salad, or sometimes I barbecue the pulled meat. I usually get four or five meals off that one $5 chicken.

We do similar, and recently stretched it even further by adapthing this recipe to use up the bones/carcass:
http://dadcooksdinner.com/2013/12/pressure-cooker-turkey-noodle-soup-with-vegetables.html/

Very easy, very cheap, very tasty chicken soup, and makes several portions.

Cowardly Toaster

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2017, 12:38:41 AM »
I like the way Costco's are setup and the one by us is very clean BUT is no where as in expensive as Sams Club and Neither are as close to what I can save at Aldi's. End of the tape is what matters most for me these days.

A moot point for me because we don't have Aldi's here, but I went to one in Minnesota and the products seemed a little off, especially the meat.

ohmylookatthat

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2017, 10:53:54 AM »
i use google express and just order from costco from there.  i hate how costco has all the free samples. it just clogs the aisles with people looking for free scraps.

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2017, 11:55:53 AM »
So for all of you buying this $5 cooked chicken. Is this less expensive than an uncooked chicken? 

J_Stache

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2017, 12:03:59 PM »
So for all of you buying this $5 cooked chicken. Is this less expensive than an uncooked chicken?

Short answer: Yes.  Cheaper than buying an uncooked chicken, seasoning, and paying for the energy to cook the chicken (not including your labor).

Long Answer: Yes.  See Here (https://priceonomics.com/are-rotisserie-chickens-a-bargain/)

soccerluvof4

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2017, 12:38:50 PM »
I like the way Costco's are setup and the one by us is very clean BUT is no where as in expensive as Sams Club and Neither are as close to what I can save at Aldi's. End of the tape is what matters most for me these days.

A moot point for me because we don't have Aldi's here, but I went to one in Minnesota and the products seemed a little off, especially the meat.
I like the way Costco's are setup and the one by us is very clean BUT is no where as in expensive as Sams Club and Neither are as close to what I can save at Aldi's. End of the tape is what matters most for me these days.

I did a price book a while back with Aldi, Costco, and shoprite. Aldi was consistently cheaper than the other two.



If you don't have one near you yes its a mute point. One thing about there meat that I like is they get close to the sell date and the price drops drastically. Today I bought two packs of thinly sliced pork chops that's were around 4.50$ a pack with the 2$ off 1.50 each for about 6 or 7 chops each pack.  Another thing I recently learned about Aldi's is that each store competes individually with it closest competition and so that and the state tax could make big difference in price. So where I live we have several and I take advantage of that as well.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2017, 12:41:36 PM »
Clark Howard is a huge fan of Costco and if you go to his website he has several articles on how to save $ at costco. Just google his name. Here is an article he did with the CEO.

http://www.clark.com/costco-ceo-clark-ways-save 

gardeningandgreen

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2017, 12:41:54 PM »

Tip: Our family of 4 goes through enough of the staples that the cash back on the Executive Membership pays for itself. YMMV

FYI for everyone if you have the executive membership and don't save enough to pay for the up priced membership they will refund the difference to you at the end of the year!

FINate

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2017, 01:00:28 PM »

Tip: Our family of 4 goes through enough of the staples that the cash back on the Executive Membership pays for itself. YMMV

FYI for everyone if you have the executive membership and don't save enough to pay for the up priced membership they will refund the difference to you at the end of the year!

Great to know!

I should also add: This also assumes you treat cash back like regular cash and spend it on necessities rather than blowing it on trinkets (which I think is what they assume you will do).

Urchina

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2017, 03:31:37 PM »
We love Costco, but are very specific about what we buy there. Today I bought:
Kirkland signature organic Greek yogurt, 48 oz for $6.99
4 dozen organic eggs at $3.25/dozen
2.5 lbs Tillamook extra sharp cheddar at $10 (this has gone up $2 in price in the last year)
3 lbs coffee for $12 (Kirkland whole bean)
Bananas at 45 cents/lb
3 lbs high-quality roasted, salted virginia peanuts for $6.50
Organic unsweetened almond milk at $1.33 per 32 ounce shelf-stable box

We also regularly buy organic whole sweet potatoes, yellow onions, tortillas, ground beef, organic tofu, organic frozen berries, raw chicken, frozen Alaskan cod and salmon and bay Shrimp, organic carrots, and occasionally avocados there, along with olive oil, mayonnaise, honey, spices (soooo cheap!), organic sugar and flour.

We've also gotten great deals on high-quality bedding, towels, rugs, cleaning supplies.

I get my vaccinations there for $10 a pop, as well as my contacts. And we order checks through them at a steep discount. Stamps are also below retail there. And the cost of allergy meds and OTC painkillers like ibuprofen is amazing. We also get all our vitamins there.

When we got our membership we figured that the savings on peanut butter alone would pay for it and it has. Their return policy has been great. And they have excellent in-house and supplier food safety selection protocols - we don't buy ground beef anywhere else.

We don't have other membership clubs in town, nor an Aldi's or Grocery outlet, so our options are limited. But we've found that if we stick to our list, use the in-store and coupon rebates and bulk buy when items are on sale we do pretty well.

« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 07:35:24 PM by Urchina »

CanuckExpat

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2017, 01:25:21 AM »
So for all of you buying this $5 cooked chicken. Is this less expensive than an uncooked chicken?

For us it's also a version of convenience/comfort/fast food.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2017, 04:12:40 AM »
Couple weeks ago I noticed Costco had a Jamaican Blue coffee  whole bean blend (probably means two beans in the bag are JB) for $3 off (so like $9.89 for a 2 pound bag).

I bought 14 bags and figured I just saved an entire year membership just with the coffee.

The other Jamaican Blue I was able to buy locally was $40 a pound.

Makes you wonder about the growers who sell to those stores; are they paid the same as the stores that sell for $40 a pound? Would be sad if the answer was "yes."

Cowardly Toaster

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2017, 09:44:44 AM »
Couple weeks ago I noticed Costco had a Jamaican Blue coffee  whole bean blend (probably means two beans in the bag are JB) for $3 off (so like $9.89 for a 2 pound bag).

I bought 14 bags and figured I just saved an entire year membership just with the coffee.

The other Jamaican Blue I was able to buy locally was $40 a pound.

Makes you wonder about the growers who sell to those stores; are they paid the same as the stores that sell for $40 a pound? Would be sad if the answer was "yes."

Probably. The $5/pound Costco Coffee tastes better to me than the $10/pound Starbucks stuff.

HipGnosis

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2017, 10:34:31 AM »
I don't have a Costco (or Sams) membership now as I'm single.
But when I did, I didn't automatically, immediately renew my membership.
Near the end of the membership, I would stock up on things that I bought regularly.
When I used them up and needed more, then I would get a new membership and repeat.

In nost states (all now?) you don't need a membership to use the pharmacy or the optical center.
You can also say that's where you're going to get in the store to do some price comparison and determine if a membership is worth it to you.


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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2017, 10:57:32 AM »
My basic guidelines:
1) avoid shipping "the middle" of the store (filled with durable goods and clothes)... better deals are usually found elsewhere.
2) price check everything, but usually usually CostCo has the best deals on...
3) The best deals on: eggs, cheese, TP & paper towels, coffee, condiments/spices, pantry staples (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, etc), bread/tortillas, chips.
4) not the best deals on (but still decent prices): meat, tools, most durable goods, bedding, tires, electronics

CostCo allow you to return most things for whatever reason. Eletronics are typically 90 days, most all durable goods are infinite. A family friend runs a CostCo in California and they jokingly refer to this time period as the "CostCo SuperBowl TV rental season" b/c so many people "purchase" and then return large flatscreen TVs to use for the superbowl.  Ethically a crap thing to do, but if I have a big ticket item to buy and can't find it used somewhere I'll favor CostCo just because I know they'll take it back months later with no hassle.

CostCo will refund in full your annual membership if you are dissatisfied. My friend moved to Maine and canceled his membership 7 months in because "there is no longer a CostCo close to me" - they gave him his $55 back.

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2017, 01:53:21 PM »
Hahahahahaha... I'm actually glad DW is losing her Costco card after she quits FT work. Everything looks like a good deal... it's weird, cause she is generally very low-consumption and avoids spending $$, a natural saver, but an $8 jar of pesto or $10 box of single-serve guac, it all goes in the cart. I don't know what she spends and I'm not that worried, but it does come off as a venue for rare (for her) sucka behavior.

ringer707

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2017, 02:06:02 PM »
THE PHARMACY.

I had a prescription several years ago that I would get filled through my regular grocery store. It cost me $180 every three months and I hated paying it, but it was necessary. My mom mentioned to me that her prescription costs had been lower at Costco so I decided to get it filled there instead. I about fell on the floor when they told me my prescription was $0. ZERO. I just kept repeating it. Absolutely nothing had changed, it was the exact same dosage, same amount of time, and was still the name brand. No change in insurance. I fill everything through them now even though it's a little less convenient for me to get there.

We also enjoy the $5 chicken and their produce. We have found mushrooms, brussell sprouts, and lettuce to be substantially cheaper. Six heads of romaine for the same price as three in my local Kroger. Their fruit is hit or miss, I find I can get most of the fruit cheaper at Kroger. We recently discovered some good prices on frozen seafood to add a little variety to our mainly pork and chicken-based meals. Their frozen shrimp are fantastic and easy to add to a pasta or eat alone.

We buy our toilet paper and paper towels there, but only when they have it on sale. Otherwise it's cheaper for me to coupon for it at Kroger.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2017, 02:08:00 PM »
A family friend runs a CostCo in California and they jokingly refer to this time period as the "CostCo SuperBowl TV rental season" b/c so many people "purchase" and then return large flatscreen TVs to use for the superbowl.  Ethically a crap thing to do, but if I have a big ticket item to buy and can't find it used somewhere I'll favor CostCo just because I know they'll take it back months later with no hassle.


You could tip your friend off that the local food bank sometimes will have a pretty good selection they could use for snacks and such at the SuperBowl party and they don't check to see your income level or anything.

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2017, 02:58:44 PM »
Just went to Costco today!  Got the following:

Reasonable Prices:
Toilet paper
Trash Bags

Excellent prices:
Kerrygold butter
bacon
frozen broccoli
garlic
black pepper
heavy cream
macadamia nuts

Other things I often get at Costco:
paper towels
other spices
frozen berries
avocados
olive oil
coconut oil
balsamic vinegar
cheapass shoes
mushrooms
romaine
spinach
carrots
potatoes
onions
motor oil (they'll have Mobil 1 on sale occasionally)
protein bars (the Kirkland ones are way better than any other protein bars I've tried)
canned tomato paste/sauce
eggs
rotisserie chicken
cheese
jerky
batteries
foil
parchment paper

Things I don't buy at Costco but have noticed/heard are good deals:
supplements/vitamins
booze
coffee
yogurt
the infamous 1.50 hot dog
avocado oil
almonds
rice
canned coconut milk (Trader Joe's is cheaper but pretty close)

Syonyk

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #31 on: January 04, 2017, 10:21:24 PM »
I play this game all the time - I shop on my motorcycle, and it very much depends on if I attach my saddle bags or not.

I... uh...

I might have a Ural.  With a sidecar.

You can fit a lot on a motorcycle + sidecar combo.

Cowardly Toaster

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2017, 10:53:09 PM »
Just went to Costco today!  Got the following:

Reasonable Prices:
Toilet paper
Trash Bags

Excellent prices:
Kerrygold butter
bacon
frozen broccoli
garlic
black pepper
heavy cream
macadamia nuts

Other things I often get at Costco:
paper towels
.....

I was so bummed the food court got rid of hand dipped ice cream bars

MandalayVA

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #33 on: January 05, 2017, 03:23:58 AM »
We're just two people, but we love our Costco membership and get our money's worth out of it.  What we buy:

Grape tomatoes
Romaine lettuce (we really like salad)
Avocado oil for homemade mayonnaise
Chicken noodle soup made from the famous $5 chickens
Cooked chicken legs from aforementioned chickens, which Mr. Mandalay eats for breakfast
Lamb--our Costco is the only place I can regularly find boneless legs and the price is right
Organic diced tomatoes
Organic tomato paste
Canned tuna
Toilet paper
Kerrygold butter
Batteries
Marinated mushrooms
Um ... butt wipes  :D

Metric Mouse

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2017, 03:34:13 AM »
I play this game all the time - I shop on my motorcycle, and it very much depends on if I attach my saddle bags or not.

I... uh...

I might have a Ural.  With a sidecar.

You can fit a lot on a motorcycle + sidecar combo.

Ahh. That would be pretty useful.

 I have a bobber with a swing-arm bag. Helps to keep my shopping costs low. :D

Syonyk

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2017, 08:38:11 AM »
I can make moderate Home Depot runs on it. It's great!

I could fit a $150 Costco run in the sidecar easily. Maybe more. The foot well is huge, and bungee cords solve a lot of problems.

OurTown

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2017, 09:07:28 AM »
We love Costco.  If I truly wanted to avoid impulse purchases, I would have to leave the wife and daughter at home.  That's okay, there are certain intangibles to giving your loved ones the joy of impulse purchases.

HenryDavid

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2017, 09:23:38 AM »
You gotta do a bit of mental prep before entering this Temple of Consumerism. I do the NZ Maori haka dance in the parking lot.

Once you're ready, deals exist: staples (oatmeal! frozen berries, olive oil etc.), coffee (in Canada, Saltspring Island Fair Trade Organic) etc. are completely great value.
Once every year or so there is a great clothing deal: my Canadian made merino wool long sleeve t-shirts and long undies! 75% cheaper than the sport store stuff, functionally identical.
But you need iron self-discipline if you even look in the centre of the store.
The pharmacy has generic non-drowsy antihistamine, a huge saving for the summer-allergy folks. Buy lots.
Also generic ibuprofen/tylenol type stuff for occasional sports pain etc.
Also Ombrelle sunscreen--that stuff is nice, but costs like caviar, but is much cheaper at Costco.
Then  . . . run out the door!

I'm a red panda

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #38 on: January 05, 2017, 09:59:47 AM »
Costco has amazing wool socks.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #39 on: January 05, 2017, 10:43:30 AM »
One more I thought of: underwear! I've been very impressed by both fit and durability of the underwear we've bought there for both DH and I. Price is middle of the pack, but the durability/fit makes up for this.

IllusionNW

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #40 on: January 05, 2017, 03:01:31 PM »
My wedding dress!  Costco used to (not sure if they still do) have trunk sales.  They sold wedding dresses in the area with all the other clothes and had some screens up so you could go behind them and try the dressed on. 

Also, diapers and wipes.

a-scho

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #41 on: January 05, 2017, 06:38:37 PM »

.....
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I was so bummed the food court got rid of hand dipped ice cream bars
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I loved those things!!!!!.......but I would ask for the nuts to only be dipped on one side because, well, I couldn't handle more than that.

CloserToFree

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #42 on: January 07, 2017, 12:31:08 PM »
Great thread all, thanks for the recs.  For folks with kids, although I've been disappointed that Costco doesn't seem to carry bulk boxes of pouches (handy for travel, car rides, etc.), they do carry apple sauce pouches that are really cheap.  I got two boxes last time but next time I'll be getting more.  I think they're in the apple sauce section.

Otherwise I'd echo a lot of what others have said.  Organic milk is a good deal at ours - a full $2 per half gallon cheaper than WF prices and probably about $1 cheaper than the cheapest store brand.  The most important thing for me, though, is sticking to my list.  Got distracted a couple trips ago and bought a couple of clothing items for my husband before later realizing they weren't particularly good deals (and he really didn't *need* them).

frugalcanuck

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #43 on: January 07, 2017, 07:46:11 PM »
I just helped build the Costco that is a 4 minute bike ride away... As an electrician it was nice to be able to bike to work for the first time ever.  I even bought a used bike trailer to bring my tools.   Now onto how I use Costco with an Exec Membership with 2% cash back plus a 1% cash back CC.

I try to stick to the staples and non-perishables, but not the butter... for some reason it's much cheaper elsewhere.
I always buy the 8 pack of tooth brushes (when I need one) and some times they do not have them... This week they were $3 off so I bought 5 packs. I should be good for a few years.
Propane is also a deal.  I go through 6 or 7 tanks of propane a year... Lots of BBQ and brewing.. and is under $10 (Usually $8 or so)at Costco and $21 at all other local places.
Our new tires are also purchased there because they are cheaper.  Added bonus.. they fix any leak for free if it fixable.  For those who are in the trades that is quite often for some reason. 
Another trick for my town is when I go to an unmustachian entertainment event ie. NHL game...  I park at the Costco, grab a cheap hot dog and drink and walk to the game from there. 


Hotstreak

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #44 on: January 08, 2017, 11:21:44 AM »
Something I have done is buy 4-5 of the pre-cooked chickens.  Take the meat off to freeze, and break down the bones to make stock.  Great to have high quality soups this time of year with all the cold weather.


Also laundry and dish soaps, eggs, paper towels/TP, some vitamins (many cheaper on amazon though).  Hearts of romaine, Brussels sprouts, green beans, etc., are sometimes a good sale (though when they are on sale at kroger, kroger is cheaper).


One thing I really like is when they run sales like "$5 off pork roast", and have a huge cooler full of roasts to choose from.  Some are original priced $15-20, but I can usually find one priced around $10-12, so I basically get it half off after the sale.


Also second the suggestion to not auto renew your membership.  Not only do you save money by letting it lapse between trips, but you can save by taking the opportunity to shop around at other discount stores.  I learned to never buy canned food at Costco (except canned meat on sale!) since store-brand stuff at discount stores is cheaper.

golfreak12

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #45 on: January 08, 2017, 04:58:38 PM »
Costco is my "try it before I buy it" place since their return policy is so generous.
Like today, I bought a car webcam there without thinking about it. If I don't like it or its not useful, I'll return it. No questions asked.

Hotstreak

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #46 on: January 08, 2017, 05:03:03 PM »
Costco is my "try it before I buy it" place since their return policy is so generous.
Like today, I bought a car webcam there without thinking about it. If I don't like it or its not useful, I'll return it. No questions asked.


I wonder if that applies to engagement rings (just in case).

Cork

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #47 on: January 08, 2017, 05:26:19 PM »
As a reminder to all the Costco Fans out there that don't want a membership:  if you only want to go to Costco 2 or 3 times total, you're probably better off paying another member to buy you a giftcard to costco instead of buying the membership.   

geekette

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #48 on: January 08, 2017, 06:43:06 PM »
As a reminder to all the Costco Fans out there that don't want a membership:  if you only want to go to Costco 2 or 3 times total, you're probably better off paying another member to buy you a giftcard to costco instead of buying the membership.   

I got a bit of a discount on membership in November, with a $20 gift card included.  I tried to pay once with the gift card, but without showing my membership card, but the checker asked for my membership card as well.

Is there a trick to just using a gift card?

Metric Mouse

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Re: Using Costco correctly
« Reply #49 on: January 10, 2017, 01:31:44 AM »
Costco is my "try it before I buy it" place since their return policy is so generous.
Like today, I bought a car webcam there without thinking about it. If I don't like it or its not useful, I'll return it. No questions asked.


I wonder if that applies to engagement rings (just in case).

I think the trick to this is to try out the partner, before slapping a ring on them. Much more efficient.